Since the debut of Dora the Explorer on Nickelodeon's Nick Jr., the program has become the No. 1 television show among preschool kids. In every episode, Dora goes on adventures with her buddies, teaching the audience basic Spanish words along the way. "It's a great way to introduce language basics to a younger audience," explains Gip Hoppe, who's directing a stage show based on the series, Dora the Explorer Live! -- Search for the City of Lost Toys. "It's a nice bridge between the cultures."
In the stage version, many of the cartoon characters are portrayed with puppets. "We have a giant snake puppet that's really cool," says Hoppe. Dora, however, will be played by adult actress Christina Bianco.
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Kids will recognize popular Dora songs such as "We Did It" and "The Backpack Song," and they'll also hear new tunes, such as the Dora-tized version of Gloria Estefan's "Get On Your Feet."
Though the stage show is geared toward the same audience as its televised counterpart, Hoppe says that "there's a lot of cool stuff to look at." Even big kids who think they're too cool for Dora will be amazed when a rain forest rises up from the stage and a dark cloud releases an honest-to-God shower. 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, through Friday, May 30. Matinees: 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 31 and June 1, with an additional show at 5 p.m. Sunday. Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, 800 Bagby. For tickets, call Ticketmaster at 713-629-3700. For information, visit www.nickjr.com. $15 to $27. -- Eric A.T. Dieckman
A Bug's Life
Nobody likes cockroaches or fleas, but some bugs are cool. The new 3-D IMAX film Bugs! features more than 40 of the coolest tropical insects, including tarantulas, scorpions, vipers and "jungle nymphs," as well as the bats that prey upon them. The 40-minute film, narrated by British actress Judi Dench, is shot from the perspective of the insects as they crawl on the ground or flit above the rain-forest canopy. Kids can learn about a praying mantis and a butterfly, magnified up to 250,000 times their normal size. 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily starting Friday, May 23. Moody Gardens IMAX 3D Theater, 1 Hope Boulevard in Galveston. For information, call 1-800-582-4673 or visit moodygardens.com. $5.95 to $8.95. -- Mary Specht